Nestled in the heart of Downtown Dallas is a golden treasure brought to us by the legendary Bruno Davaillon, the Michelin-star former chef at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. Recently opened in early November, Bullion is the realization of Davaillon's dream restaurant; elegant yet approachable, upscale yet cozy, French yet contemporary. Don't let the gilded exterior and world-class art fool you, inside you'll find yourself transported to a warm and welcoming French brasserie. Our biggest surprise was the bill - how is it so low? Bullion has all the markings of a 5-star restaurant, from outstanding service (ask for Victor) to beautiful presentations and exceptionally impressive decor. In all, the bill was less than half what you would expect, making it the perfect casual fine-dining restaurant.
The hors d'oeuvres highlights of our visit included the incredibly fresh Steak Tartare (16), the Escargot Ravioli (14) with escargot sourced directly from France, and the rich Canard Duck Confit (9) , perfect with a glass of red wine from their extensive selection. The true stand-out appetizer was the L'Oeuf Poché (16), a perfectly poached egg nestled on top of locally-sourced mushrooms in a yellow wine sauce. This season the featured mushrooms included the Black Trumpet, Golden, and Button mushrooms, although they will change with each season. The Poireaux (12) was an unassuming favorite, with poached leeks, crunchy hazelnuts, goat cheese, and truffle vinaigrette. A classic staple of French cuisine, Chef Davaillon's take on the Duck à l'Orange (34) contrasts the cirtus of the orange marmalade with the warm spice of anise and cardamon. Bullion's menu is an exceptional study of balance in cuisine, each dish maintaining its complexity without one overpowering ingredient. The dessert menu is no different; an elegant modernization of French classics. The Mille Feuille (10), an arnette puff pastry filled with rich vanilla pastry cream and dulce de leche satisfies without the heaviness of traditional cream desserts. The Chocolate Soufflée with Pistachio Ice Cream (12) is light yet intense, the perfect dessert for the chocolate craving. The drink menu and impressive wine list calls for an article in itself, but the highlights included their Old Fashioned and Bonne Chance cocktails (14).
Designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Bullion was created with three key ideas in mind: firstly, to create an elegant yet casual fine dining restaurant with the Page 2 of 3 ambience, buzz and feel of a brasserie -- reflective of Chef Davaillon’s contemporary French cooking.
Secondly, to build on the connection between Bullion and its antecedent state, gold, to create a leitmotif from which the design is centered. The Bullion visual experience begins with guests entering and ascending the staircase where they can seek comfort and refreshment in the bar and lounge area, with 28 seats, plus eight at the bar itself. Showcasing a bespoke lozenge- patterned floor in dark timber, and a richly decorated silk rug, the bar and lounge area has a highly decorative aesthetic bursting with exceptional detailing. A combination of seating in tones of blue and gold offers a relaxed area in which to sip and unwind, or alternatively guests are able to perch at the bar, complete with a high-gloss wood top and woven leather front. A mixture of seating in the 96-seat dining room provides diners with options in which to socialize.
Thirdly, to offer the contemporary design that harks back to Dallas’ history and the glamour of the mid-century period. This was achieved in designing furniture in modernist and playful shapes and the finishes of the walls, floor and bar in deep and luxurious materials.
Chef Davaillon, in collaboration with Dallas Urban Farm owners Jody and Max Wall, has installed an indoor vertical farm in the catering kitchen. Chef and his team will hydroponically grow herbs, vegetables and lettuces, which will be served at the restaurant. Bullion is the first Dallas restaurant to grow plants from seedlings on site.
Original artwork is an important aspect of the Bullion experience. There are three very prominent site-commissioned installations. Upon entry to the space, as one walks up the grand staircase, there is a large-scale glass sculpture by Jean-Michel Othoniel. The back of the dining room is graced by an innovative and striking wall sculpture by Kathryn Andrews. The painter Matthew Chambers created custom works in flocked canvas, that will encase some of the booths and the photographer Brock Fetch was recruited to take some Dallas’ specific photographs that are quite striking.
Bullion is open for dinner Monday - Saturday, closed Sunday. To make a reservation: http://www.bullionrestaurant.com/